Course Policies

General Education

All UA students complete general education courses in the arts, sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Honors students have access to a unique Honors General Education structure, which allows greater flexibility in the courses that can be used toward general education requirements in the three study areas of Traditions and Cultures/Humanities, Individuals and Societies, and Natural Sciences. Although they will complete the same number of general education courses as non-Honors students, Honors students are able to place a greater emphasis on Tier II courses. Rather than needing to complete two Tier I and one Tier II course in each of the three study areas, Honors students have the option of taking just one Tier I course and two Tier II courses. Students should talk to their major advisors to determine what general education courses they need in order to complete their degree requirements.

The Honors gen ed structure is optional. Students may choose to use this option for just one or two of the gen ed study areas, while following the traditional non-Honors structure for the other area(s).

The Honors College offers a wide variety of tier I and tier II general education courses under the HNRS prefix. Students are strongly encouraged to enroll in Honors general education courses.

Students who withdraw from Honors will maintain eligibility for the Honors general education sequence.

Honors Contracts

1. Honors Contract Unit Limits

There is a limit to how many honors units a student can earn via Honors Contracts. This is determined by the student’s Honors Unit Requirement. The Honors Unit Requirement is the number of honors units a student needs to earn by the time they graduate.

The Honors Contract limits are:

  • 30 Honors Units Requirement - contract up to 12 units, 6 of which can be lower-division units.
  • 24 Honors Units Requirement - contract up to 9 units, 6 of which can be lower-division units.
  • 18 Honors Units Requirement - contract up to 6 units, 3 of which can be lower-division units.

(Lower-division units are courses numbered 100 level and 200 level)

**Exceptions apply to engineering majors; see below.

2. College of Engineering Honors Contract Unit Limit

There are specific Honors Contract limits for honors students who are in the College of Engineering. (College of Engineering courses may not be contracted for Honors credit.)

College of Engineering students who enter the Honors College with:

  • 59 or fewer transferable units may contract up to 6 units, 3 of which can be lower-division units.
  • 60 or more transferable units may contract up to 3 units.

3. Grading of the Honors Contract

No grade is given for the contract. The student either meets the terms of the Honors Contract or they do not. Instructors are required to determine whether the student has completed the terms of the contract by the same date that grades are regularly due for the course. “Incompletes” are not accepted for Honors Contracts, unless the student has obtained prior permission from the Honors College.

4. Honors Contract impact on the student’s overall grade in the course

The work assigned as a result of the Honors Contract will not determine or impact the student's final grade in the class. That is, the fact that the student is working on an Honors Contract does not guarantee a high grade. Final grades should reflect the quality and content of all of the student's work in the course. Additionally, if the student does not complete the terms of the Honors Contract, this will not negatively impact the student’s final grade in the class. If the student does not complete the terms of the Honors Contract, the only consequence would be that the student will not receive honors credit for the course.

5. Courses Co-Convened with a 500-level Graduate Class

Students typically are not able to create an Honors Contract for a class that is co-convened with a 500-level graduate class. If this is a student’s very first semester at the University of Arizona OR they have less than 60 earned units, students should contact an Honors Academic Advisor to learn how they could potentially earn honors credit for the course. If a student has at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA at the University of Arizona AND has at least 60 earned units, they would not create an Honors Contract. Instead, the student would fill out the Undergraduate Enrollment in Graduate Course form and turn it into the Office of the Registrar, Administration 210.

6. Courses Ineligible for an Honors Contract 

There are certain courses that are NOT eligible for an Honors Contract.

Classes you cannot make an Honors Contract for are:

  • Courses that offer an Honors section option this semester
    •  If there is a course that offers an honors section, you must be enrolled in the honors section in order to earn honors credit.
  • Courses in the College of Engineering
    • Courses in: AME, ARCE, BE, BME, CE, CHEE, ECE, ENGR, GEN, MNE, MSE, OPTI, SIE
  • Internships
    • Courses numbered: 193, 293, 393, 493
  • Preceptorship
    • Courses numbered: 191, 291, 391, 491
  • Independent Study
    • Courses numbered: 199, 299, 399, 499
  • Study Abroad courses
    • Courses taken at other institutions cannot be contracted. 
  • Courses with alternative grading
    • S (superior), P (pass), F (fail)
  • Courses taken in the Winter session
    • These are courses taken between the fall and spring semesters.

Individual Studies

1. An Honors individual studies course, including independent study (X99H or X92H), internship credit (X93H) and preceptorship (X91H) should be qualitatively different from the non-Honors individual studies normally undertaken in the department or discipline. Even in the laboratory setting, The Honors student taking an Honors section should be doing demonstrably different work than students registered for a non-Honors individual study.

2. This difference, indicating that the experience is worthy of The Honors designation, and therefore of a grade, should be indicated and described on the required departmental registration form.

3. This "demonstrably different work" will vary depending upon discipline, but in general should mean not additional assignments, but a deeper, more challenging and more intense engagement with the subject matter or work of the independent study.

4. Faculty in individual departments shall determine, along with their colleagues in the discipline, what this specific and more challenging work shall be, but in general it might involve some or all of the following: engagement with theory, closer and/or more frequent contact with faculty members and/or principal investigators, interrogation of underlying assumptions and received wisdom, more advanced engagement with the material, faster progress through the curriculum for the course, etc.

5. Only active university Honors students should be registered for Honors independent study.

Special Considerations for Independent Studies Credit:

Honors independent study work will provide a depth and intensity that exceeds the scope of a regular independent study. As such, honors independent study credit provides a letter grade that is included in the cumulative GPA, as opposed to non-honors independent study which is graded on a pass/fail basis.

Special Considerations for Internship Credit:

If an internship is aligned with a student’s major or minor, the student should seek Honors credit through that academic department. If the internship takes place in a field outside of his/her chosen major or minor, the student may be eligible to earn Honors credit through The Honors College. Internships originating in The Honors College (HNRS 193H-493H) include different and additional requirements which may include:

  • Identify and read a (scholarly) book pertinent to the internship.
  • Keep a journal throughout the tenure of the internship.
  • Use the book and journal excerpts to inform a 7-10 page paper that reflects on the internship.

Special Considerations for Preceptors:

Honors preceptorships should reflect a depth and intensity of work that exceeds the scope of a non-Honors preceptorship. Whether assisting during a lab course, running study sessions, or supporting a professor directly, Honors preceptors should be required to exceed the standard preceptor duties, primarily by the addition of an intellectual, academic or research component. In addition to the preceptor’s standard duties, Honors preceptorships might include the following components:

  • An assignment that includes both research into and analysis of information relevant to the preceptoring duties.
  • An assignment in self-reflection, which might include a portfolio or journal.
  • An in-depth study into a specific area of the discipline upon which the course is based, requiring The Honors student to engage more intensely with the material than the non-Honors preceptors.
  • Engagement in the study of theory appropriate to the discipline.
  • Assessment of the learning outcomes from the assignments listed above would occur through an individual presentation to the class where the preceptorship is conducted, a panel presentation by several preceptors to the class, or a report submitted to the professor.
  • Additional research or reading from which the student writes a 5 - 7 page paper that relates to the preceptorship experiences.
  • Regular meetings with the faculty member in charge of the course in order to assist students in self-reflection and self-assessment.

First Year Seminars

A one-credit First Year Seminar (HNRS 195H, 195I, 195J, and 195K) is required for all first-semester freshmen in the Honors College. Seminars topics span the social sciences, sciences, humanities, and fine arts. Students are required to enroll in a seminar during their freshman orientation program.

Non-Honors Students

Students who are not active in Honors may not enroll in honors courses or sections including Honors independent studies, Honors contracts, Honors sections of general education, and any other Honors courses. The exceptions to this policy are English 109H and certain lower-level math courses. Ability to take these courses is based on placement scores rather than Honors College enrollment.